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French Restoration

French history

Following the ouster of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1814, the Bourbon Dynasty was restored to the French throne. The period of their reigns is called in French the Restauration.

Louis-Philippe ascended to the throne during the July Revolution; some historians treat the resulting July Monarchy as a separate period in French history.

Following the ouster of the last king to rule France, the Second Republic was formed after the election of Charles Louis Napoleon Bonaparte as President (1848-1852) who then had himself declared Emperor Napoleon III of the Second Empire from 1852 – 1871

Louis XVIII

Louis XVIII (November 17, 1755- September 16, 1824) was King of France from 1814 until his death in 1824.Louis XVIII, King of Francebourbon-dynasty-louis-18

Louis-Stanislas-Xavier was born on November 17, 1755 in the Palace of Versailles, Versailles, France, the fourth son of the dauphin Louis, the son of King Louis XV and Marie Leszczynska. At birth, he received the title of Count of Provence but throughout most of his life he was known as “Monsieur.”

After the death of his two elder brothers and the accession of his remaining elder brother as Louis XVI of France in 1774, he became heir presumptive.

The birth of two sons to King Louis XVI, left him third in line to the throne of France. He was living in exile in Westphalia when the King was guillotined in 1793. On the king’s death, Louis-Stanislas-Xavier declared himself Regent for his nephew, the new King Louis XVII. On the 10-year-old king’s death in prison on June 8, 1795, Louis-Stanislas-Xavier proclaimed himself as King Louis XVIII.

In 1814, he gained the French throne with the assistance of Charles Maurice de Talleyrand after Napoleon’s downfall. Eventually, he fled Paris on the news of the return of Napoleon to Ghent, but returned after the Battle of Waterloo had ended Napoleon’s rule of the Hundred Days.

King Louis’ chief ministers were at first moderate, including Armand Emmanuel, Duc de Richelieu, and Élie Decazes. The ultraroyalists, led by Louis’s brother, the Comte d’Artois (later King Charles X), triumphed after the assassination of the count’s son, Charles Ferdinand, Duc du Berry. The new ministry headed by the Comte de Villèle was thoroughly reactionary.

Louis XVIII died on September 16, 1824, and was interred in the Saint Denis Basilica. His brother, the Comte d’Artois, succeeded him as Charles X.

Charles X

Charles X (October 9, 1757- November 6, 1836) was born at the Palace of Versailles son of Louis (the uncrowned dauphin, son of Marie Leszczynska) and Marie-Josèphe de Saxe. He was crownedbourbon-dynasty-charlesx King of France in 1824 in the cathedral at Reims and reigned until the French Revolution of 1830 when he abdicated rather than become a constitutional monarch.Charles X, Bourbon Dynasty, King of France

He was the brother of both King Louis XVI and King Louis XVIII, as well as uncle to Louis XVII

He married Marie-Thérèse de Savoie, the daughter of Victor Amadeus III of Savoy, on November 16, 1773.

As Comte d’Artois he headed the reactionary faction at the court of Louis XVI. He left France at the outbreak of the French Revolution, and stayed in England until the Bourbon restoration in 1814.

During the reign of Louis XVIII he headed the ultraroyalist opposition, which took power after the assassination of Charles’s son the Duc du Berry. The event caused the fall of the ministry of Élie Decazes and the rise of the Comte de Villèle, who continued as chief minister after Charles became king.

The Villèle cabinet resigned in 1827 under pressure from the liberal press. His successor, the Vicomte de Martignac, tried to steer a middle course, but in 1829 Charles appointed Jules Armand de Polignac, an ultrareactionary, as chief minister. Polignac initiated French colonization in Algeria. His dissolution of the chamber of deputies, his July Ordinances, which set up rigid control of the press, and his restriction of suffrage resulted in the July Revolution.

Charles abdicated in favor of his grandson, the Comte de Chambord, and left for England. However, the Duc d’Orléans, whom Charles had appointed Lieutenant-General of France, was chosen as “King of the French.” He reigned as Louis Philippe.

Fleeing initially to England, he later settled in Prague and then in present-day Slovenia. He died on November 6, 1836 in the palace of Count Michael Coronini Comberg zu Graffenberg at Goritz, Illyria and is buried in the Church of Saint Mary of the Annunciation, Castagnavizza, Slovenia.

Louis-Philippe of France

Louis-Philippe of France (October 6, 1773 – August 26, 1850), served as the “Orleanist” King of the French from 1830 to 1848.King Louis Philippebourbon-dynasty-louis-philippe

Born in Paris, Louis-Philippe, as the son of Louis Philippe Joseph, Duc d’Orléans (known as “Philippe Égalité”), descended directly from King Louis XIII.

During the French Revolution and the ensuing regime of Napoleon Bonaparte, Louis-Philippe remained mostly outside France, travelling extensively, including in the United States where he stayed for four years in Philadelphia. His only sister, Princess Louise Marie Adelaide Eugènie d’Orléans, married in the US.

In 1809 Louis-Philippe married Princess Marie Amalie of Bourbon-Sicilies (1782-1866), daughter of King Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies.

After the abdication of Napoleon, Louis-Philippe returned to live in France, claiming sympathy with the liberated citizens of the country. With the restoration of the monarchy under his cousin King Louis XVIII and then under the reign of Louis’ brother, King Charles X, the popularity of Louis-Philippe grew.

King of the French

In 1830, the July Revolution overthrew the repressive regime of Charles X. Charles abdicated in favour of his grandson, whom monarchists regarded as the legitimate Bourbon king. (Supporters of the Bourbon pretender, called ‘Henry V’, came to be called Legitimists. His grandson was offered the throne again in the 1870s but declined over a dispute over the French tricolour.)

Due to Louis-Philippe’s Republican policies and his popularity with the masses, the Chamber of Deputies ignored the wishes of the legitimists that Charles’s grandson be accepted as king and instead proclaimed Louis-Philippe as the new French king. The new monarch took the style of “King of the French”, a constitutional innovation known as Popular monarchy which linked the monarch’s title to a people, not to a state, as the previous King of France’s designation did.

In 1832, his daughter, Princess Louise-Marie Thérèse Charlotte Isabelle (1812-1850), became Belgium’s first queen when she married King Leopold I.

For a few years, Louis-Philippe ruled in a unpretentious fashion, avoiding the arrogance, pomp and lavish spending of his predecessors. Despite this outward appearance of simplicity, Louis-Philippe’s support came from the wealthy middle classes.

At first, he was much loved and called the ‘Citizen King’, but his popularity suffered as his government was perceived as increasingly conservative and monarchical. Under his management the conditions of the working classes deteriorated, and the income gap widened considerably. An economic crisis in 1847 led to the citizens of France revolting against their king once again.

Abdication

On February 24, 1848, to general surprise, King Louis-Philippe abdicated in favour of his young grandson (his son and heir, Prince Ferdinand, having been killed in an accident some years earlier). Fearful of what had happened to Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, he quickly disguised himself and fled Paris. Riding in an ordinary cab under the name of ‘Mr Smith’, he escaped to England.

The National Assembly initially planned to accept his grandson as king. However, pulled along by the tide of public opinion, they accepted the Second Republic proclaimed in controversial circumstances at Paris City Hall. In a popular election, Prince Louis Napoleon Bonaparte was elected as President. In 1851 he declared himself president for life. Within a year, he named himself Emperor Napoleon III and resurrected the concept of a “Napoleonic Empire”.

Louis-Philippe and his family lived in England until his death on August 26, 1850), in Claremont, Surrey. He is buried with his wife Amelia (April 26, 1782 – March 24, 1866) at the Chapelle Royale, the family necropolis he had built in 1816, in Dreux, France.

The Clash of the Pretenders

The clashes of 1830 and 1848 between the Legitimists and the Orleanists over who was the valid monarch had its epilogue in the 1870s when, after the fall of the Empire, the National Assembly with the support of public opinion offered a reconstituted throne to the Legitimist pretender, ‘Henry V’, the Comte de Chambord.

As he was childless, it was expected (and agreed by all but the most extreme Legitimists) that the throne would then pass to the Comte de Paris, Louis-Phillippe’s grandson, so healing the ancient rift between France’s two royal families. However Chambord, with infamous stubbornness, refused to accept unless France abandoned the flag of the revolution, the Tricolore, and replaced it with what he regarded as the flag of pre-revolutionary France.

This the National Assembly was unwilling to do. A temporary Third Republic was established, to be disestablished and replaced by a constitutional monarchy when Chambord died and the more moderate Comte de Paris became the agreed pretender. However Chambord lived far longer than expected. By the time of his death in 1883 support for the monarchy had declined, with most people accepting the Third Republic as the form of government that ‘divides us least’, in Adolphe Thiers’s words.

Thus France’s monarchical tradition came to an end, though some, notably Dwight D. Eisenhower, did suggest a monarchical restoration under a later Comte de Paris after the fall of the Vichy regime. Instead however, the Third Republic was briefly resurrected before being replaced by the Fourth Republic in 1946.

Most French monarchists regard the descendants of Louis Philippe’s grandson, who hold the title Comte de Paris, as the rightful pretender to the French throne. A small minority of Legitimists however insist on a nobleman of Spanish birth, Don Luis-Alfonso de Borbon, Duke of Anjou (to his supporters, ‘Louis XX’) as being the true legitimist pretender.

Both sides even challenged each other in the French Republic’s law courts, in 1897 and again almost a century later, in the latter case, with Henri, Comte de Paris (d. 1999) challenging the right of the Spanish-born ‘pretender’ to use the French royal title Duc d’Anjou. The French courts disagreed with the Comte de Paris and threw out his claim.

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